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Wondering how many here have tried forging with their opposite hand for a while?

 

I had a shoulder injury and I'm trying to let things rest and heal for a while without doing too much too fast.

But of course I want to play at the forge, so why not give it a whirl with hammering using the opposite hand?

 

I've been a drummer for 30yrs now, so I think I'm somewhat ambidextrous. 

But what a world shift when actually doing everything you've been doing now using opposite hands!!

I'm sure it will get better quickly, but geez does that feel like a bumbling klutz in the shop the first time doing everything opposite....

 

It was not pretty.

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I think this topic came up a while ago didn't it? IIRC the consensus was learning to use the other hand was good all round, both hand gained dexterity and feel. We gather a huge amount of information with our holding hand, whether directly or through tongs or the handle of a top or struck tool. Switching hands lets our brains develop the kind of high energy and split second control and accuracy the hammer demands in our off hand while letting our dominant had do the info gathering job of holding teaches that side of our brains.

 

It's a good thing, give it a try but do it long enough to develop skill with your handedness reversed.

 

Of course that's just my opinion I could be wrong. <grin>

 

Jer

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Greetings Frog,

 

Ahh the lucky guys that can switch hands...  On a good day I can hold the stock with my left..  LOL   BUTTTTT.... I solved that problem years ago with a flypress and a treadle hammer..   As long as I'm kickin I'll be forging some way....

 

Forge on and make beautiful things

 

Jim

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If you're a leftie it's easier to learn the switch. And lefties tend to be more inclined to be ambidextrous as things like sissors are made for the "rest" of the world :D !

 

I also might add that I agree with Frosty- He could be wrong! B)

 

Ian

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I had a student once that was having a terrible time hammering---missing the piece and hitting the anvil or clipping the piece and hitting the anvil.  I finally asked him if he was using his dominant hand to hammer and he said "No" he wanted to learn to use his off side.  I asked him to damage his OWN equipment learning that and not mine!

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I switch back forth all the time. I generally don't care which hand I'm using for most anything. I have a bad right shoulder, and I timber frame full time and I will switch to the left when it gets so bad I can't hold my right up. When I first started to switch back and forth, it took a little while to build up the muscles on my left arm so the mallet felt right, but since then, no problems.

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Part of being ambidextrous is spending the time looking like an uncoordinated idiot and not worrying about what other people think, while you are picking up the skill.  lefties struggle with stuff built for right-handers every day of their life and find a way to make it work. It helps if you practice with everything, pouring water, carrying coffee,using the phone, throwing rubbish in the bin, remote controls (maybe not try swinging an axe to start with).

 

My dad give me one of those "how hard could it be" lectures so I secretly swapped his serrated bread knife for a left handed one, after swearing at it for a week for not cutting straight he threw it in the bin.

 

It takes me about 6 weeks to get good enough at a skill to work fast with my opposite hand but I still feel uncomfortable and have to concentrate, after 9 - 10 months I can do it without thinking. About the only one that has beaten me is using a square mouthed shovel. It looks the same both hands but I can feel that I am working a lot harder as a righty because my stance is not quite correct..

 

You will probably find that your "tong hand" skills and accuracy will improve from the exercise as well, it is more about thinking about the technique as you work than just putting the time in.

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A few years ago I fell off a ladder and couldn't forge with my usual arm, no luck at all with using my left, it was awful. I ending up deciding to clean & clear everything up and doing a lot of designing. Like a fool I tried forging again too soon, before I had healed properly and damaged my right arm again. I then took six months off and everything has been alright since.

 

I am right handed in almost everything, but I bat left-handed (cricket) and play guitar (badly) left-handed too just because it feels more comfortable and natural to do so. I had thought that these tendencies might make it easier for me to switch forging arms, but I was completely wrong.

 

I think a significant factor is that I have a right leading eye, for shooting, archery, catapults (slingshots) etc. and I believe that this is key in forging too.

 

Not aiming this at anyone but... very, very few people are truely ambidextrous in the full sense of the word. Being able to get by using the 'other' hand is lucky and useful and, I guess, possible for most people with real perseverance; but I have yet to come across anyone who can do intricate / delicate jobs to a good (i.e. the same) standard with either hand.

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I'm a bit of a mess of ambidextrous and not, I'm told it's to do with dominant eyes. I'm much stronger with my right hand and that's what I use for most things, but I'm far more accurate with my left hand which I write with among other things- but it's just not strong enough to constantly swing a hammer. I get on just find with my right hand but I've sometimes had to switch to my left hand in awkward situations where it's not possible to use my right (happens to me a bit with long stock in a small shop)- it goes okay but I only move about half as much metal as I would with my right.

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 Like a fool I tried forging again too soon, before I had healed properly and damaged my right arm again.

 Exactly what I'm trying to avoid! 

I want to let it heal up nicely the first time around, which is why I'm trying to tinker around with little stuff using my other hand for hammering.

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LEFTIES OF THE WORLD, THROW OFF THE YOKE OF RIGHT HANDED OPPRESSION!  :P  

 

Ok now that I have that off my chest.  As a lefty I find it very helpful to use my right hand as much as possible.  For unknown reasons, I write lefty but do most everything else righty.  Including hammering.  I also will use my left hand to hammer when I need to give my right arm a break.  Once rested I go back to using the right side. 

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 I secretly swapped his serrated bread knife for a left handed one, .

 

A Whaaa? I had'nt even though about that " left handed serrated bread knife" no kidding. I'm left handed who had a butcher as a father, his philosophy was "if you don't cut a slice of bread straight ,you obviously don't want bread!"(in those days parents could still make rules you know) so I learnt to cut straight & square(I did'nt thank him at the time but now I'm gratefull) I never thought there would be a difference. :huh:

 

Ian

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his philosophy was "if you don't cut a slice of bread straight ,you obviously don't want bread!"

 

I used to get,

"have a look at this, he's made another doorstop"

"Ya want to watch that jam doesn't slide right off that ski slope"

"surprised that sandwich can stay upright"

"More curves than Marilyn Munroe"

"looks like the mice have been at this loaf of bread"

 

seriously, I would start off with a lighter hammer with a shorter stubbier head and work on the hit accuracy and body position first, if you start with a hammer with a longer head your brain and forearm will fatigue very quickly trying to hold the right hammer angles, too many things to think about at once.

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You know, there is a bit of research floating around that suggests that doing things with your non-dominant hand can help foster brain plasticity, which can help prevent the onset of dementia and improve overall cognitive function. 

With that said, I'm left-handed most of the time. Except when I shoot, throw a ball, swing a bat or a hammer, or anything that requires a lot of force. Wait, I basically only write and paint left-handed. What does that make me?

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You know, there is a bit of research floating around that suggests that doing things with your non-dominant hand can help foster brain plasticity, which can help prevent the onset of dementia and improve overall cognitive function. 

With that said, I'm left-handed most of the time. Except when I shoot, throw a ball, swing a bat or a hammer, or anything that requires a lot of force. Wait, I basically only write and paint left-handed. What does that make me?

I do the exact same thing.  I believe its a step forward in human evolution.  -_-

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A well balanced body and mind is good.  It requires diligence over one's life time.

 

The product of a blacksmith is an iron or steel object, produced to a high standard, that satisfies the customer's demands.

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